Summary: Churches in New York City need desperately other churches in America to help us. We cannot do this job alone.
PLEASE HELP US IN NEW YORK CITY
By Pastor Fernando Cabrera
New Life Outreach International Church
2757 Morris Ave. Bronx. NY. 10468
How can I even begin to describe to you the tragedy of the World Trade Center as a pastor who has found himself in the middle of the biggest tragedy this city (some say this nation) has ever faced. I write to you as a fellow minister and pastor who has witness the pain and suffering of this catastrophe. This event has caught our nation by surprise,but much more to the pastors and churches who reside in this city. Some congregations lost church members and others are literally traumatized by this horrific tragedy. As someone who has worked in the ministry and as a counselor for many years in this city, I have never seen so many people be "troubled" and overwhelm by a tragedy. From the moment that this tragic event took placed, phone calls flooded into my home. I have slept very little.
I visited "Ground Zero" with a few local pastors (we were granted special permission) to minister to the firemen and policemen who have been working tirelessly under chaotic conditions. But what I saw in television did not really prepared me for what I saw at the site where the WTC once stood. It is the most horrific tragedy I have ever witnessed. Devastation is the only word that comes to mind. It is beyond words. Just minutes before I arrived, firemen had pulled out 10 dead bodies and other "body parts".
Many pastors and congregations in New York City (especially those in the lower side of New York City) are now confronted with the biggest community tragedy they have ever experienced in their ministerial careers. There are churches there were forced to close down as a direct result of this catastrophe. Others are overwhelmed with the "counseling" overload that accompanies a crisis such as this. Some congregations have church members who were trapped in the rubble, while others churches have members who are beginning to experience Post Traumatic signs. I have a couple of members who made it out alive by the grace of God (for which I weep with joy), but now have the long road of recovery and healing.
What can other congregations in America do?
1. Please pray for the pastors and congregations who were affected by this tragedy. Please do not think for a second that your prayers are of no value. Le t your congregations know from the pulpit that these prayers mean the world to us. Pray that God will use this incident to draw New Yorkers to Jesus. I have seen God beginning to move among unbelievers like never before. Many who would not be caught in a church, now were found in churches already this week.
2. If you have daughters churches or denominational churches in the area, please contact them to see if they need help. Do not miss this moment to be a house of blessing. At the very least you can be a pillar of moral and emotional support to these pastors. Paul was an advocate for the church of Jerusalem in their moment of need. Paul did not forget those whom it had connected with in the past.
3. If you do not have any connections or relations with any of the churches in the New York City area, our church can put you in contact with some of our New York City coalitions of churches. I am presently working and assisting with an inter-denominational group (it is amazing to see how tragedy bring churches and pastors together). You can contact us through E-mail at NEWLIFEBX@cs.com or call us at our church at 718-562-2230 or you can contact Primitive Christian Church at 212-673-7868. Please, if you feel uncomfortable about helping out through churches you do not even know, please then do not feel obligated to do so. I recognized that there are some people soliciting monies who have no intentions of helping those who are really in need. Shame on those who prey upon people’s kindness for their own gain. But there are real NEEDS that are already beginning to surface. Some church members in different congregations have lost their apartment. Others who survived have lost their employment. These are needs that are beyond what many of our inner city churches can bear and carry on their own.If you would like to send a donation, please make out to "Ground Zero Relief Fund" and mail it to either:
New Life Outeach International
2757 Morris Ave
Bronx, New York 10468
Primitive Christian Church
207-209 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
4. I believe that God wants to get the glory out of this tragic situation. Pastors throughout America should exhort their congregations to contact family and friends who may reside in the New York City area, and encourage them to attend church this Sunday. Ibelieve that there is a window of opportunity that God has granted us to reach those who were previously resistant to the gospel.